on the edge of everything

Happily, Stefan and Heather’s four-day drive to Boston has gone well enough that yesterday they had time to take a side trip to Niagara Falls. They donned the classic rain slickers, walked the narrow pathways between two countries and stood in awe at the masses of water booming over the falls.

Yesterday, Hansie had surgery on his bunions. Most people get one foot done at a time with a three-month recovery for each. Hans decided to jump in with both feet. He’ll be in a wheelchair for about six weeks but we think it’s better than two surgeries and a long drawn out recovery.

After a full day at the hospital, Hans came out of surgery goofy and cheerful. The nurses adored him and said he kept trying to sit up during recovery and look at his feet. On the way home he insisted we take the top down on the mini and sang exuberantly. We quickly learned his training as a CNA has served him well. He knows all the tricks for transferring from a wheelchair to car, bed, chair, toilet; how to wash his hair in the sink and gather everything necessary in one room.

Last night, I set my alarm for 12:30 so that I could give him his pain pill in the middle of the night. When I stumbled out of my room, I was surprised to see lights on in the kitchen and Hans and Mary sitting at the computer while he helped her finish her math homework. It was a sweet sight, but also a distressing one since she gets up at 5 AM for early morning seminary. Hans said that he offered to just do all of her homework for her and let her go to bed but she wisely decided to struggle through. Thankfully Hans is one of the best math tutors I know.

Not surprisingly, it was a struggle to get off to school on time this morning with her giant red cello on her back, hair streaming wet and me throwing granola bars and water bottles at her as she ran out the door with sweet Gabe picking up the pieces. And that’s how everything is right now. A little bit frantic, a little bit crazy, a lot holding on for the weekend.

just started school on Monday to and I’ll be honest – – it feels impossible. I’m completely confused by my French class and my graduate seminar is overwhelming. Most of my classmates stared at our professor in shock as he outlined the required readings and papers due each week. I’m a clever girl, but I don’t know if I can keep up.

Ben and Sammie are also living with us just for the week while the plumbing gets repaired in their apartment. They’re like exotic birds– always smiling and full of fun– but they leave so early and arrive home so late I only see them every few days. Life has to slow down, right?

With Mary starting high school this week Xander sent her some beautiful advice. “Just be really nice to everyone and work really hard and everything will go great.”

And really, what else is there?  Be kind, work hard, have courage. Whatever we do, whatever we create, we’ll be here for each other with family dinners and group chats, email and Marco Polo. From across the county, or across the world, we’ll keep up our inside jokes and political commentary, cheer for successes, cry over failures and tease Hans about his love life.
It’s August 24th. My mom would be 75 today. At the end, she repeated over and over, “We have so much happiness ahead of us.” Her words have proved true more than I could have imagined. I know she’s watching over us. We have so much happiness in our lives today; we have so much happiness in our future. And maybe, somehow, we’ll find time for a nap.


July 22, 2018
September 25, 2018



  1. Heidi

    August 25, 2018

    Michelle, What a beautiful post! I guessed you’d had a busy summer (who doesn’t?) but this post was well worth the wait! Your final thoughts are so true–so much happiness! It’s great to see the phases of sunshine, and you continue to be amazing!

  2. Ellen Patton

    August 27, 2018

    I loved meeting Stefan and Heather last night; they are delightful! I’m happy they will be here for 3 years. heart ep

  3. Brooke

    September 18, 2018

    I loved this post! I don’t think I’ll ever meet you in person (you never know) but I sure love your blog.

    We live in upstate NY about an hour from palmyra. If Stefan and heather ever come this way to look at Church history sites, we’d be happy to host them :). My five kids like to use all young adults as jungle gyms, so really it would be a service to us 😉

  4. jen

    September 24, 2018

    Ahhh… running out the door with wet hair. That was me from the time I was 15 until I chopped my hair from almost my waist to my shoulders the day before I turned 21. My trick: a french braid with a ton of Clairol Herbal Essences spray gel. (Unfortunately, they don’t make it anymore…) Memories…

    Regarding your graduate seminar, you’ve got this. If I can reinvent myself at 38 by going to school as a single mama with a kiddo with special needs (who stopped eating this summer and now has a cool feeding tube), you can do this. 😀

    With regard to French, you’ve probably got something your classmates want, be it baking skills, a place at your table for Thanksgiving (I was gone for 9 Thanksgivings — we loved the people who adopted us), a cat to pet… Barter that thing for French tutoring. 🙂 (I totally did that this summer — I tutored a classmate in Accounting in exchange for getting to practice my abysmal Spanish with her and her support of my non-Mormon Starbucks habit.) If nothing else, have Sammie parle seulement en francais with you.

    *hugs* You remain one of my mom heroes.

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